If there’s one thing I know how to make, it’s comfort food. Macaroni and cheese has always been a part of my families mealtime regime, whether it’s for holiday gatherings, or served warm tableside for a weeknight meal. My mother always prepared a baked macaroni and cheese with layered elbow noodles, sharp shredded cheeses and dotted with butter, before cream was poured over top. Nowadays, I usually make mine on the stove top because I prefer the creamier consistency, and in this recipe – I added sauteed onions and peppers for another boost of flavor and incredible savory taste.
Sauteing onions and peppers in a pan to highlight their natural sugars is the first step in this macaroni and cheese recipe. After they are cooled, I stirred them into a roux (mixture of butter and flour) before adding milk, a splash of cream and freshly shredded white cheddar cheese. The combination of cheesy pasta with bits of onions and peppers flecked throughout the dish will satisfy those just-like-mom makes cravings, and remind you of a warm Italian sandwich, minus the meat.
1 large red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 large white onion, sliced thinly
12 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups of low-fat milk
1/3 cup cream
2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
salt and pepper
olive oil for cooking
- In a large skillet, add 2 teaspoons olive oil, peppers and onions. Place over medium heat and stir. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, stir. Cook for 4 minutes, until softened and lightly caramelized. Remove from heat and place in bowl to cool.
- Boil macaroni in salted water, drain. Set aside.
- Add butter to a large saucepan and place over medium heat. After mostly melted, sprinkle flour over top, whisk. Continue to cook mixture for 1 minute to create a roux.
- Add milk and cream, stir. Continue to cook for 2 minutes before adding cheese. Stir until thickened, about 1 minute and add cooked macaroni, stir to combine. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, more if necessary. Turn off heat, and stir to combine.
- Pour into serving dish and top with parmesan cheese. Serve or keep warm in low oven until ready to eat. Enjoy!